Sylvie Ungauer

Born in 1963

Lives and works in Brest

In 2005, after having lived in the Centre region, Sylvie Ungauer settled in Brittany and began teaching at the École Supérieure d'Arts de Brest. Moving around, with grants for residences and other art projects in France as well as abroad, is an integral part of Sylvie Ungauer's development and work. From the very beginning, her experience at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, followed by several stays in Germany, proved to be rich in cultural and artistic exchanges which were to influence her production. The interest she has in issues concerning identity and feminism are more systematically supported by thought around the relationship to the « Other ». Sylvie Ungauer then developed artwork centred on the observation and study of the networks that structure our society, the relationships between individuals, the places where we live as well as the outside world. Collaborations become more frequent. The creation of networks between various protagonists – professionals, artists or art lovers – is a recurring element in the conception and production of her work. Similarly her work is marked by a certain heterogeneity in the choice of techniques and materials used. The use of video or computing tools do not exclude weaving or sewing, as synthetic materials (resin, optical fibres, latex, silicon) can sometimes give way to the use of second-hand materials (used video tapes, plastic bags, clothes...).

Drawn to the reticulate systems that control our world today (the Internet, the flux of information, molecular structures...) and by the notion of habitat through its relationship to space, time, economy and geography, Sylvie Ungauer produces work on various scales. Models of the town (Synapse, 2002 – At Home, 2000 – Village, 2000 – Global Village, 1998) « inhabitable » sculptures (A wig for 3, 2004 – Habits, 2001 – Home, 1998) and graphic works (Dessins réseaux, 2004 – Cellules, 2004 – Acides, 2003 are as many propositions that materialise the organisation and extension of universes, from the infinitely big to the infinitely small.

The notion of interactivity is also at the heart of the artist's preoccupations. In Déplacés, a moving sculpture (2006), Habiter (2001) ou encore Stand By (2001), the public is obviously, or sometimes indirectly, appealed to and the question of public/private space as a place for meeting and social exchanges is revealed through different working methods such as performance and video. This desire to establish an interaction between the public and her work is generally materialized thanks to multi-media techniques and tools. Sylvie Ungauer's latest project, entitled Imaginary Landscape (2008), allows the visitor to generate a representation of the world based on the flux of French information that circulates around the Internet. The internaut is invited to appropriate, then activate the different functions of the site to create a virtual landscape, a unique map of our planet.

Marie Lemeltier, 2009

Biographical notes translated with the support of the Centre national des arts plastiques - Cnap.